Friday, March 23, 2007
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Editor's note: Mary Ann had sent a previous email about various issues relating to visas...this was a response and some additional insights about Trinidad.
Thank you for researching this, it is definitely my understanding and experience as well. Any costs for transiting the canal are no big deal, you need only worry about your personal entry/exit duties or fees to enter or leave the country.
By way of status, there was another typical "Island fuckup" today. The boat was supposed to go in the water this morning. Originally, it was scheduled for Monday so most of my plans were arranged accordingly, but the yard was concerned about the tides/weather so they pushed it up. It meant that I really had to hustle to get all the bottom work done (I had to abandon the Sonar installation) and was up until 5am grinding the props, applying the new boat name decal, cleaning the thru-hull ports, and all the other various miscellaneous tasks that go with putting a boat in the water.
By 5:30 I was exhausted, having worked almost twenty four hours in a row, so I decided I'd take a quick nap before they began moving the boat to the water. I woke up at 9:30am, still on land. I dragged myself over to the office and asked what was happening. I was told that they never received the wire funds transfer that AnnMarie had arranged yesterday and sent copies of to them.
Rather than come knock on my boat and ask, they just blew me off and pushed the date back to Monday. I had made reservations for a berth that I'm now paying for and can't use, but it never would occur to them to go that last extra inch to make something work out. Oh, and it turns out they had the documents, but they were in their email, and not their fax machine. It wouldn't have mattered, AnnMarie resent them as faxes as I stood there, but it was already to late in the day to put the boat in. Now we wait until Monday.
I can't begin to explain the frustration at how amateurish the professionals, government, service sector and manufacturing is down here. It is amazing that no one cares, but that is just how it is, so you deal with it. On the bright side, after a few weeks down here, Cal Trans, BART, Muni, Fry's and Home Depot all seem like a model of efficiency, speed and quality service.
Editor's Note: This turned out to be, like most all of our problems with the yard, solely the fault of the office manager, Karen. If you ever need to deal with Aikane's boat yard, demand Philip's direct contact info. We never received emails, return phone calls or any documents from here that weren't either delayed, wrong, omitted or disregarded. If you want to do business with Aikane's, deal with Philip, not his office staff.
Long end to this story, we are still "on track" but Mota (and possibly Jeff) may need to stay a day or two at the yard instead of the dock, but by Wednesday we should be pier side. Engines seem to be working well, I've fixed or refurbished a lot of stuff, don't have any real concerns about the safety or preparedness of the boat as yet. The captain on the other hand...
Oh, one other thing, can each of you call me from the cell phone you will be carrying with you, the night before you leave. This way I will know that your phone can get through (there is some weirdness in TT about various interconnectivity issues between competing phone companies. Plus it confirms that I know you are ready to leave and reminds me to pick you up at the airport.
See you all soon,
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